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BC hires Martin Jarmond as new director of athletics

04.20.17 at 2:49 pm ET
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Boston College announced on Thursday that it has hired Martin Jarmond as its new director of athletics. Jarmond comes to Chestnut Hill from Ohio State, where he served as the deputy director of athletics.

He succeeds Brad Bates, who resigned in February and took a job as vice president with Collegiate Sports Associates.

“I am delighted that Martin Jarmond will be the next athletics director at Boston College,” said BC president William P. Leahy. “His work as deputy director of athletics at Ohio State and at Michigan State have given him not only appreciation of the opportunities and challenges of intercollegiate athletics, but also experience in how to respond effectively to them. He is a person with high energy, infectious enthusiasm, and an impressive ability to engage with people and issues.”

Jarmond will be tasked with, among other duties, finding a way to turn around the Eagles’ football and men’s basketball programs. BC football hasn’t had a record over .500 in ACC conference play since 2009 and has gone 2-14 in league play over the last two years. The men’s basketball team, meanwhile, hasn’t gone over .500 since 2010-11 and has a dreadful 10-62 ACC record over the last four seasons.

“I am humbled and honored to serve as the William V. Campbell Director of Athletics at Boston College,” said Jarmond. “I am grateful to Fr. Leahy and Boston College for entrusting me with this role. I have always believed that the commitment to high academic standards and competing at the highest level athletically are not mutually exclusive. The opportunity to serve at a top-notch academic institution in the ACC is a dream come true for me. I am passionate about helping young people develop and integrate the intellectual, athletic, social and spiritual components of their lives.

“My leadership style is consistent with BC’s values: operating with integrity, passion, and a relentless focus on getting better every day. I can assure you that I will put in the work to make our students, alumni, and fans proud of BC athletics. I knew it would take a special place to leave Ohio State. It is clear to me that Boston College is that place.”

Boston to host 2022 Frozen Four; Worcester, Manchester, Providence remain in regional host rotation

04.18.17 at 1:38 pm ET
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Providence beat Boston University to win the national championship the last time Boston hosted the Frozen Four in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Providence beat Boston University to win the national championship the last time Boston hosted the Frozen Four in 2015. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It felt like an eternity when Boston went 11 years without a Frozen Four before TD Garden hosted college hockey’s 2015 championship. The city and the Garden won’t have to wait as long this time, as the NCAA announced on Tuesday that Boston will host the 2022 Frozen Four.

The NCAA also announced the hosts for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Frozen Fours, which will go to Buffalo, Detroit and Pittsburgh, respectively. Next year’s Frozen Four is already set for St. Paul.

In addition, the regional sites — which host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament — for the next two years were also announced. There were no surprises in the East, as Worcester’s DCU Center and Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena will host regionals in 2018, followed by Manchester’s SNHU Arena and Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center in 2019.

That continues what has been a safe, established rotation for the two Eastern regionals. All four arenas are neutral sites with AHL-sized buildings that are an easy drive for most of New England’s college hockey teams, and Bridgeport is also pretty close for several New York schools. There had been talk of Portland, Maine hosting a regional at the recently-renovated Cross Insurance Arena, but it won’t happen in this cycle.

The Western regionals are a bit more interesting, as Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Allentown, Pennsylvania will each be first-time hosts in 2018. Allentown will also host a regional in 2019, while Fargo, North Dakota gets the other Western regional in 2019.

Both Allentown regionals are hosted by Penn State and the Sioux Falls and Fargo regionals are both hosted by North Dakota — an indication of a declining interest from other schools and cities to host as the NCAA struggles to find neutral, mid-sized rinks in the Midwest that can draw well and make money.

Harvard suffers heartbreaking Frozen Four loss following wild finish

04.06.17 at 9:37 pm ET
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Seniors Luke Esposito and Tyler Moy comfort each other after Thursday's Frozen Four loss. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

Seniors Luke Esposito and Tyler Moy comfort each other after Thursday’s Frozen Four loss. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports)

Harvard’s first Frozen Four game in 23 years was about as thrilling a contest as you’ll get. No, there wasn’t a lot of scoring. But there were plenty of chances, some great saves, some big hits and a consistently fast pace. Oh, and there was a wild finish that featured a go-ahead goal and two shots off the crossbar all in the game’s final 27 seconds.

Unfortunately for the Crimson, they ended up on the wrong side of that craziness and lost to Minnesota-Duluth, 2-1. Thursday’s defeat marks a heartbreaking end to a great season for Harvard, one that saw it win its first Beanpot since 1993, its first ECAC regular-season title since 1994 and its second ECAC tournament title in the last three years. The Crimson had won 16 straight games prior to Thursday.

Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth combined for 78 shots on goal in the game, with each team registering at least 10 in all three periods. Both goalies were terrific, as Harvard’s Merrick Madsen made 36 saves while UMD’s Hunter Miska stopped 39 shots.

Both teams had chances throughout the third period to break the 1-1 deadlock, but it took until the final minute for it to finally happen. After Harvard couldn’t clear the puck out of its zone, Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Willie Raskob set up Alex Iafallo for a redirect in the slot that just squeaked through Madsen’s legs with 26.6 seconds left in regulation.

The Crimson didn’t give up, though, and came oh so close to forcing overtime. Following an offensive-zone draw with 19.9 seconds left, Sean Malone flipped a rebound over Miska, but it skipped off the crossbar. That wouldn’t be the last pipe. A few seconds later, Luke Esposito got a golden look from the slot, but his shot deflected off Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Nick Wolff and rang the crossbar. The Bulldogs cleared the puck and that was it.

Minnesota-Duluth will face the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal between Denver and Notre Dame in Saturday night’s national championship game.

Harvard appeared to take a 2-1 lead 5:41 into the third when Malone banged the puck in during a scrum in front, but the referee had blown his whistle after losing sight of the puck and the no-goal call was upheld after review.

A few minutes later, the Bulldogs had a great chance to take the lead when they forced a turnover on Harvard’s breakout, sending Adam Johnson in 1-on-1. After stepping around a defenseman, he tried to jam a shot in at the near post, but Madsen held his ground and made one of his biggest saves of the night.

The first period was a back-and-forth, fast-paced, physical affair that crossed into undisciplined play on a few occasions. Both teams were fortunate to avoid major penalties, as Harvard’s Luke Esposito (boarding) and Minnesota-Duluth’s Wolff (charging) both threw hits that could’ve easily been game misconducts — and probably would’ve been if this were the regular season — but they were called two-minute minors instead.

The Crimson ended up with three power plays in the opening frame. They couldn’t capitalize on their first two despite some good looks, but they finally converted on the third try and took a 1-0 lead with five minutes left in the period when Alexander Kerfoot made a great cross-slot pass to set up Tyler Moy for his fourth goal in three NCAA tournament games.

The lead didn’t last long, though. Minnesota-Duluth responded nicely and controlled play late in the period, and the Bulldogs tied the game with 1:36 to go when Dominic Toninato won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Joey Anderson, who beat Madsen with a quick shot through traffic.

The Bulldogs’ momentum carried over to the second, as they came storming out with 10 shots on goal in the first five minutes of the period. Madsen, who was excellent throughout the second half of the season, stood tall, though, with his best save coming when he flashed the glove on a point-blank chance from Anderson.

The game came to a virtual standstill through the middle part of the period, as the teams went nearly nine minutes without a single shot on goal. But then it was the Crimson’s turn to take charge, as they outshot UMD 8-3 over the period’s final seven minutes. They went to the power play with 3:49 left in the period and should’ve gotten an extended 5-on-3 after Kerfoot was clearly tripped on a rush toward the net, but the refs somehow didn’t call it. The teams ended up heading to the third still tied 1-1.

The loss marked the final game for Harvard’s large senior class, which features seven players who were in the lineup Thursday night, including Kerfoot, Moy, Malone and Esposito — four of the team’s top six scorers this season.

***************************

-During the game, John Connolly of the Boston Herald reported that Boston is expected to be awarded the 2021 Frozen Four. Boston last hosted college hockey’s championship in 2015, when Providence topped Boston University in the title game.

Led by Ryan Donato, seniors, Harvard looks to stay hot in Frozen Four

04.05.17 at 4:15 pm ET
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Ryan Donato is tied for the Harvard team lead in goals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Ryan Donato is tied for the Harvard team lead in goals. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After winning its first Beanpot in 24 years and capturing the ECAC regular-season and tournament titles, it was clear that Harvard had a special group this season. The Crimson’s run continued in the NCAA tournament, as they ended up the lone New England representative in the Frozen Four in Chicago, where they will face Minnesota-Duluth Thursday night at 6 p.m. Harvard is seeking its first national title since 1989, when head coach Ted Donato won it as a player.

The Crimson’s path to Chicago was paved by a dominant stretch run, including their current 16-game winning streak. The last time the Crimson lost a game was Jan. 14 against Union, a 4-1 defeat that was the last in a three-game losing streak before Harvard found its groove.

Led by Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Donato, the Crimson are a group that is defined by its depth. That depth was going to be tested and questioned from the moment Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey graduated, but the Crimson have convincingly filled any perceived void.

Donato, a sophomore, is third on the team with 40 points. Ahead of him are Tyler Moy and his 44 points, as the Nashville Predators prospect has had four multi-point games over his past six. He has three goals already in the national tournament, including two in a 3-0 win over Providence.

Also with 44 points is New Jersey Devils draft pick Alexander Kerfoot, a Hobey Baker finalist who has tallied at least a point in eight of his last nine contests while playing with Donato and Lewis Zerter-Gossage on the top line. Buffalo Sabres prospect Sean Malone, who skates alongside Moy and Luke Esposito on the Crimson’s second line, a line of all seniors, has contributed 42 points, and 10 of those came in the ECAC playoffs alone.

Donato’s 19-point jump (so far) from his freshman campaign has obviously been big, but a lot of credit for Harvard’s success has to go to the seniors.

Harvard was faced with the task of replacing Vesey and fellow graduated first-line forward Kyle Criscuolo, who had combined for much of the Crimson’s offense over the past three seasons. The emergence of the senior second line has given the team extra depth to allow players like Donato to shine on the top line.

Freshman defender Adam Fox also has made a name for himself. A member of the USA junior team that won gold in December, the Calgary Flames prospect has 39 points this season.

Harvard matches up against the Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth, who advanced to the Frozen Four after knocking off Boston University in overtime. The Bulldogs also had to defeat Ohio State in an extra frame the night before and have played 12 overtime games overall this season, the most in the nation.

Joey Anderson, a Devils prospect, scored the game-winner on a power play against BU and is third on the team with 34 points. Senior Alex Iafallo’s 49 are the most on the team. Goalie Hunter Miska has had a strong freshman season, posting a .919 save percentage. He troubled a high-scoring BU team in the quarterfinals, keeping the Terriers out of the net for most of the game before they tied it late to force overtime.

Miska matches up with Crimson goalie Merrick Madsen, a junior who was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. Madsen has a .922 save percentage on the season, but is at an even more impressive .938 since Jan. 20. Madsen posted a 41-save shutout against Providence in the first game of the national tournament, then stopped 27 shots as Harvard beat Air Force 3-2 in the regional final.

On the other side of the bracket, the lone Hockey East representative, Notre Dame, takes on No. 1 overall seed Denver. The Fighting Irish knocked off UMass Lowell in overtime in the regional final, a little over a week after the River Hawks had dominated the Irish in the Hockey East semifinals. Denver, meanwhile, advanced to the Frozen Four after defeating a Penn State team that was making its first NCAA tournament appearance. Notre Dame is leaving Hockey East after this season for the Big Ten, so this will be its last time playing under the conference umbrella.

UMass hires Matt McCall as men’s basketball coach

03.29.17 at 6:06 pm ET
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UMass has its new basketball coach. (Jim Brown/USA Today Sports)

UMass has its new basketball coach. (Jim Brown/USA Today Sports)

After Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey spurned Massachusetts less than a week ago and had a change of heart just 30 minutes before his introductory press conference, UMass has agreed to terms with Chattanooga head coach Matt McCall, the school announced Wednesday night.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in the press release. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men. Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

McCall spent two seasons as head coach of the Mocs, taking over for Will Wade after he left to coach Virginia Commonwealth. McCall led Chattanooga to an NCAA tournament appearance in his first season along with winning the Southern Conference regular season and conference championship in 2015-16. The 35-year-old compiled a 48-18 (.727 winning percentage) record in his time with Chattanooga, and was named SoCon coach of the year in his first season.

“My family and I always said it would take something extremely special to move us away from Chattanooga and that’s what we have here at UMass,” McCall said in the release. “The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

After graduating from Florida in 2006, McCall was named the director of basketball operations with the team, a position he held for two seasons before being hired as an assistant coach with Florida Atlantic. He spent three seasons with the Owls before returning to his alma mater and serving as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan for four seasons with the Gators.

McCall will take over for Kellogg after the Springfield, Mass. native spent nine seasons in Amherst, posting a 155-137 record (.531 winning percentage) with one trip to the NCAA tournament in 2013. The Minutemen lost 15 of its final 20 games this season after starting the year 10-3 with a nationally-rated recruiting class.

Boston Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry reportedly emerged as a serious contender to become the Minutemen head coach before and after the team’s debacle with Kelsey. UMass officials hosted Shrewsberry for two interviews with the team before confirming to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy he was out of the mix to replace Kellogg.

Kellogg was fired on March 9 following UMass’ second round exit in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Pat Kelsey backs out last minute, will not be UMass basketball head coach

03.23.17 at 6:48 pm ET
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Pat Kelsey is the new basketball coach at UMass. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Pat Kelsey will not take the UMass coaching job after all. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

The Massachusetts men’s basketball team was set to usher in its next head basketball coach Thursday afternoon at the John Francis Kennedy Champions Center after the team announced Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey would be replacing former coach Derek Kellogg Tuesday.

As media and fans gathered in the Champions Center, it was then relayed by a UMass spokesperson that the press conference had been cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Moments later ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported Kelsey had a change of heart and in a most bizarre twist, would not be the team’s next coach.

”For personal reasons, I have asked the University of Massachusetts to allow me to be released from the offer I accepted to be the head men’s basketball coach,” Kelsey said in a statement the team released. “To be clear, this decision is entirely personal and in no way an assessment of the commitment UMass made to me personally or to the resources available at UMass to have a nationally-recognized program. I apologize to Chancellor Subbaswamy, Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford, members of the basketball program and the UMass community who embraced my appointment this week and made me feel welcome since arriving on campus yesterday.”

Kelsey had been on campus in Amherst the previous two days taking photos and meeting with the current Minutemen basketball team and other athletic coaches at the university, including Thursday in anticipation for the afternoon presser. He then called Bamford at 3:25, just a half hour prior to his scheduled press conference, to inform him of his request to be released from the university.

“After speaking with Pat about his decision, I honored his request and we are now working through how this impacts our executed Memorandum of Understanding,” Bamford said. “In my conversation with Pat, he made it clear that his reasons were very personal and upon his request, I will honor our confidential conversation. Pat stressed that his decision was not based on the University of Massachusetts or our basketball program. Again, his reasons were personal in nature. I know that the unforeseen circumstances surrounding his decision were not in our control. At this time, we will resume our search for the next leader of our program. I am confident that we will hire a remarkable coach who will return our program to national prominence.”

The search for UMass’ next coach now resumes, with rumored candidates Micah Shrewsberry and Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley serious contenders for the position.

As for Kelsey, Bamford said it was his indication in their meeting that he would be heading back Winthrop, however he could not confirm.

“This was on me,” Bamford told the media early Thursday evening. “As the leader of this organization, this is on me. I take this personally. Finding our next head coach is personal to me because I owe it to the department and our student-athletes to find somebody great.”

“This is a great job and this is a great university,” he added. “We are a top public research university. This is a wonderful athletic department and this is an unbelievable community. We’re going to go find somebody who wants to come here and return us to prominence. There’s no doubt in my mind. This is a road bump for us.”

UMass hires Pat Kelsey as new basketball coach

03.21.17 at 6:50 pm ET
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Pat Kelsey is the new basketball coach at UMass. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Pat Kelsey is the new basketball coach at UMass. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Massachusetts Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford got his man.

After firing UMass men’s head basketball coach Derek Kellogg following the Minutemen’s (15-18, 4-14 Atlantic 10) second-round exit in the A-10 tournament, UMass hired Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey to become the school’s 22nd head basketball coach Tuesday afternoon.

“I am thrilled to welcome Pat Kelsey and his family to the University of Massachusetts,” Bamford said in the team’s press release. “Pat has been an important piece of some highly-successful programs throughout his career, including the last five years leading the basketball program at Winthrop University. Coach Kelsey has a detailed plan for every phase of our program and a passionate work ethic providing fuel to reach our goals of building a championship-caliber program.”

Kelsey spent the previous five years at the helm of the Eagles, compiling a 102-59 record (.634 winning percentage). Winthrop was the 2016-17 Big South regular season and conference tournament champions with a 26-7 record (15-3 in conference) before losing to Butler in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Kelsey’s lone trip to the big dance.

The Eagles won the Big South regular season championship twice in Kelsey’s tenure. He spent two seasons as an associate coach of his alma mater Xavier and eight years as an assistant at Wake Forest before becoming the Winthrop coach.

“Lisa and I are thrilled to be joining the UMass family and the Amherst community,” Kelsey said in the release. “UMass is a national college basketball brand with a proud, powerful tradition. As a player in the A-10, I saw first hand what the potential is there. I look forward to the challenge of making UMass a major factor on the national level once again.”

The news broke after rumors were swirling about a potential job for Celtics assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Tuesday morning Shrewsberry emerged as a “serious” contender to become the Minutmen’s next head coach after having met with school officials earlier this month, with a second interview on the docket.

The Boston Herald’s Rich Thompson reported early Tuesday afternoon via Steve Bulpett’s Twitter account that Shrewsberry was in fact out of the running to be the team’s next head coach, and was no longer on Bamford’s short list before ESPN’s Jeff Goodman initially reported the team hired Kelsey Tuesday afternoon.

Kelsey will take over for Kellogg after the Springfield, Mass. native spent nine seasons in Amherst, posting a 155-137 record (.531 winning percentage) with one trip to the NCAA tournament in 2013. The Minutemen lost 15 of its final 20 games this season after starting the year 10-3 with a nationally-rated recruiting class.

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Bruins prospect Ryan Donato scores twice as Harvard captures 2nd ECAC title in 3 years

03.18.17 at 11:18 pm ET
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Harvard will enter the NCAA tournament as the hottest team in the country. The last time the Crimson lost, Barack Obama was still president.

On Saturday night, the Crimson crushed Cornell, 4-1, to capture their second ECAC tournament title in the last three years and improve to 15-0-1 over their last 16 games. Harvard will be a one-seed in the NCAA tournament and head to either Manchester or Providence next weekend. The selection show is Sunday at noon.

Bruins prospect Ryan Donato, the team’s leading goal-scorer this season, led the way Saturday night. He opened the scoring on a power-play goal with 5:19 left in the first, then scored on the man advantage again midway through the third to make it 4-0.

Between those two goals, Luke Esposito and Michael Floodstrand also scored. Cornell’s lone goal came with 1:17 left in the game, long after the game had been decided.

Valuable senior experience helps UMass Lowell capture Hockey East title

03.18.17 at 11:00 pm ET
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When a team has played in this game as often as UMass Lowell has, it has something a lot of other teams might not: experience. For the senior group on the River Hawks, that rings true. Lowell has been in the last five Hockey East championship games, and the senior class has now won two of them following a 4-2 victory over Boston College on Saturday night.

That senior class that has been a part of all four contests is small, with just three players. Joe Gambardella has seen four of these games, and he scored in the latest edition, netting the dagger with 8:23 left in the second period to extend the River Hawk lead to 4-2.

“It’s always nice when you have experience, things you can learn from, and they’re not always negative,” said the senior center. “From day one we were ready to execute.”

Dylan Zink and Michael Kapla, seniors on the top defense pair, have also been a part of four title contests. Both Kapla, a captain, and Zink produced 25 assists this season for one of the more dynamic pairings in the nation. Kapla, named to the Hockey East all-tournament team,  made his mark on the championship game with an assist on Saturday night, coming on Gambardella’s 18th tally of the season.

“As good as Joseph Gambardella is up front, Michael Kapla is that on defense,” said head coach Norm Bazin. “He’s the anchor, he’s the pillar back there. Dylan [Zink] gets a lot of notoriety for his offensive game, Kapla is a good combination of defense and offense. He’s going to play for a long time after college.”

That defense pair also helped freshman goalie Tyler Wall keep the puck out of the net late in the game when the Eagles outshot Lowell 15-2 in the final frame.

Gambardella also assisted on John Edwardh’s goal, the go-ahead for the River Hawks in the second period. The forward was also named to the all-tournament team.

“He’s certainly developed over four years, he’s a substance player,” said Bazin. “Aesthetically he might not look perfect but he produces. He’s always a plus player, he’s a glue guy in the locker room and a captain.”

Bazin has seen the River Hawks in this title game for five of his six years since taking over as head coach in 2011. The 2016-2017 Hockey East Coach of the Year has been able to lead Lowell past traditional Hockey East powerhouses Boston University and Boston College to be the mainstay at the top of the conference.

It’s the first time a Hockey East team has gone to five straight title games since Maine went to seven straight from 1987-93, and the dynasty has a lot to do with the recruits Bazin has brought, and he’s in the conversation as one of the best coaches nationally. The River Hawks weren’t on the map as a contender as much as they have been in the past half decade under Bazin, and the veteran leadership from the current senior class has been the core.

“We just commit to the process,” said Gambardella. “Every day is a new day, and everyone comes to the rink everyday wanting to be better. We choose to get 1 percent better every day or 1 percent worse, and I think we’ve been going in the right direction since day one.”

Lowell hangs on to beat BC and capture 3rd Hockey East championship in 5 years

03.18.17 at 9:41 pm ET
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UMass Lowell captured its third Hockey East title in the last five years Saturday night. (WEEI.com)

UMass Lowell captured its third Hockey East title in the last five years Saturday night. (WEEI.com)

UMass Lowell is back on top of Hockey East. After coming up short in the conference title game each of the previous two seasons, the River Hawks captured their third Hockey East championship in the last five years Saturday night at TD Garden with a 4-3 win over Boston College.

The victory serves as the exclamation point on a remarkable run for a program that was nearly cut just 10 years ago. Since Lowell alum Norm Bazin took over behind the bench in 2011, the River Hawks have made five Hockey East championship games after only reaching two prior to that, they’ve won two regular-season titles after never having won that before, and they reached their first-ever Frozen Four in 2013. Now they’ve won three Hockey East tournaments after never having won it before, and they’re heading to their fifth NCAA tournament in six years after making it just three times pre-Bazin.

Saturday’s championship game looked like it had a chance to be a barn-burner at the first intermission, as Lowell and BC were tied 2-2 after an exciting opening frame. But the River Hawks had other ideas. They took control starting around the middle of the second period, got a two-goal lead before the intermission, and held on to the finish line despite BC’s desperate comeback bid in the third.

After failing to convert on their first two power plays, while also allowing a shorthanded goal, the River Hawks capitalized on their third man advantage at the 10:05 mark of the middle period when John Edwardh followed up a Joe Gambardella shot and flipped the rebound past BC goalie Joseph Woll.

Then Lowell struck again just a minute and a half later when Gambardella settled a puck in the left circle and beat Woll short-side over the shoulder. The Eagles played desperate in the third, as they obviously needed to, and registered 12 of the period’s first 14 shots on goal.

Freshman goalie Tyler Wall made some big saves to maintain the lead (and finished with 38 saves in the game), but BC finally broke through with 2:45 to go when Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald whacked a puck through his legs from the right side of the net that banked off Wall and in.

The Eagles nearly tied the game with 40 seconds to go when Fitzgerald ripped a shot from the point that hit the crossbar and stayed out. That close. But instead of forcing overtime, the Eagles saw their season come to an end, as they are not high enough in the Pairwise rankings to make the NCAA tournament.

Lowell opened the scoring just 1:06 into the game when C.J. Smith collected a bouncing puck in the neutral zone, skated in and sniped the top corner. The River Hawks got a chance to extend the lead a minute later when they went to the power play. They got some good looks and just missed on a couple cross-slot passes that wouldn’t settle, but they couldn’t find a goal.

A minute after Lowell’s man advantage ended, the Eagles went to the power play, and they took advantage just 10 seconds into it when Austin Cangelosi tipped in JD Dudek’s shot from the left point.

The River Hawks started to take a little bit of control through the middle part of the period and nearly made it 2-1 when Michael Kapla rang a shot off the post. They continue to pressure and then did retake the lead at the 12:06 mark when Smith set up Chris Forney for a shot from the point that beat Woll through heavy traffic.

The Eagles had a great chance to tie the game a few minutes later when they ended up with a 5-on-3 for 1:39. They got a couple decent looks, but Lowell managed to get the kill. Then the River Hawks got a power play almost immediately after, and it felt like a major momentum swing was right around the corner.

Instead, things swung in the other direction. BC freshman forward Graham McPhee made a terrific play to poke the puck away from Smith on a breakout, then raced in on a breakaway and beat Tyler Wall on the backhand. It was just the second goal of the season for McPhee, and it was the Eagles’ 11th shorthanded tally of the season, tying them with Harvard for first in the country.

The River Hawks didn’t let the game get away, though. They regrouped at the first intermission and stifled BC in the second while scoring twice themselves. Lowell now waits to find out if it will be a one- or two-seed in the NCAA tournament. That will be decided by other results around the country Saturday night.

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